Bloodstock Open Air 2017 : Saturday Review

Still buzzing from last night, we’re like excited school children on a big school trip at the thought of what was in store for BOA 2017 Saturday. We skip brekkie and settled for some leftover Lucozade and some Monster as we had to get to the arena super fast. Line-up wise, there are a few we definitely want to catch early on in the running order, so with out further, or indeed any, ado we’re off to the New Blood stage we go!

We were asked the night before to go check out Ward XVI, so we did. Now we’ve gotta be completely honest we’ve never seen or heard of them previously but WOW! Theatrical makeup, hard circus-rock-esque vibe and an early morning party in the tent. After the biggest circus pit in the history of BOA we were treated to an on stage execution and the singer ending up in a PVC straightjacket.

We may have walked into the unknown but on leaving the tent, we were fans. That was bluddey marvellous! There was something about the facepaint and theatrical look that certainly caught the attention, and the fact they could back up the image with some pretty impressive rock’n’roll.

And they had an accordion.. can’t beat a bit of accordion laying down a freaky circus vibe and they treated us to an ever changing dynamic which was a refreshing change from the faster-louder-more approach of many other bands gracing the Bloodstock stages.

Out in the sunshine, Fallujah were getting the main stage underway and they provided the soundtrack for the first walk across the arena of the day as we headed over to catch Blind River on the Sophie stage. On the way we were joined by another fan with a massive inflatable dinosaur, and the reptile must have been a fan as it ended up down the front Dino-dancing and lizard crowd surfing.

We had another look at activities on the Xplosive Ape strong man tent where we soon got sucked up by the excitement of a bloke trying to lift 166kg in the air. If he’d managed it would have been a new world record apparently. He came closer than TeamCB could have managed if we all lifted the bar, and he weighed less than 90Kg.

Pretty sure he’ll have that world record soon.

Next up on the main stage were UK festival stalwarts Winterfylleth who were keeping up the brootal start to activities on the Dio stage. We’ve caught these guys supporting some pretty big tours over the past few years but based on the performance here they’re heading towards headline status in their own right. Black Metal brekkie is the way forward.

Next up was Internal Conflict who were giving the Sophie Stage crowd a good kicking, but in a melodic way. Not many bands manage to get the melody / brutality balance right but the groovy Leicester lot hit the nail square on the head. Definitely one worthy of further investigation.

Skipping breakfast in favour of Ward XVI was starting to tell, so it was time for some overpriced indian street food. OK, it was nice but a bit pricey and the usual tightwad TeamCB conversations ensued about how they could justify the prices. £2.50 for a bottle of water, it’s cheaper to drink Cider.

So we did.

One of our ones to watch were next up on the Sophie stage. We’ve been fans of Kroh from their first album, but the change of direction with the addition of the spellcheckers worst nightmare Oliwia Sobieszek on vocals has given the band a whole new level of exposure. The crowd listened attentively, and we really liked new song Rigor Mortis which gave us an eaely taste of the upcoming album.

Kroh were pretty damn good when we last saw them at HRH in Sheffield last year but since then they have grown in stature as they build a well deserved repitation based on powerful live performances, and at BOA they didn’t let us down as Paul Kenney and the band get ready to step up to the next level.

Thrash Time !!! After seeinng them rip Edinburghs corn exchange a new exhaust hole at Heavy Scotland there was nowhere else we were going to be than front and center, well as front and centre as was safe, given the inevitable insanity that broke out when Havok arrived on stage down at the actual front and center.

Our metophorical front and center is a good bit further back than that. Behind the circle pits and with only a light smattering of overly ambitious crowd surfers.

We loved Havok in Edinburgh, and it was awesome to see them getting a rapturous welcome from an increasingly packed crowd.

Can’t beat a bit of thrash.

We’ve heard lot’s of great things about The One Hundred from people we know and trust. Upbeat, flash and colourful; the band are certainly well followed and had the Sophie Tent bouncing along. They reminded us of an early Rage Against The Machine with a spot of pop-factor.

Predictably, we aren’t all that fussed but what the hell do we know?

What is is it about King 810? They exude a dangerous edgy atmosphere that spills over into their music and they’re the darlings of the music press but whenever they play they never seem to float our collective boats.

On the Bloodstock main stage they kept the fans happy but I don’t think they would have won over the doubters. It’s certainly something to file under ‘A bit different’ and there were plenty of King 810 shirts on display around the site to prove we don’t know what we’re talking about.

On the other hand, someone who we thought were very good indeed brought ancient Lovecraftian gloom to the New Blood stage. When we spoke to Infected Dead in the run up to the festival they talked a good game, and as the tent descended into Death Metal darkenss they more than lived up to their self proclaimed hype.

How the fuck you doing Bloodstaahk over the PA, in an American (yeah, Canadian) accent. That must be the legends that are Annihilator then. Now we’ve seen them be hit and miss in the past but cometh the hour, cometh the riff and at BOA they are f’kin superb. From the first notes of King Of The Kill the place goes a bit mental, cue much head banging and general worship at the altar of the riff.

Acknowledging their somewhat patchy output of late, Jeff beams “We’re going back to the old-school” before blasting out a brand new track ‘Twisted Labotomy’ which certainly sounds promising, indeed. Annihilator’s simple thrash metal approach was refreshing to our ears as the riffs cut through the arena with precision and then the awesome ‘Alice in Hell’ had us stretching our vocal chords!

Annihilator are back with a bang it seems. We can’t wait for the new stuff now.

As we’ve said before, the New Blood stage is often THE place to find your next favourite band. We’ve come across Ba’al before so thought we knew what to expect, but we were wrong. OK, so bands can rise to the occasion when they’re given the New Blood opportunity, but Ba’al didn’t just rise to the occasion, the Sheffield locals smashed it.

Still not entirely sure what Blackened Post Metal is though.

Staying in the New Blood Tent… there is a bar there afterall.

On first impression, Malum Sky appear to be a little bit of a square peg in the round hole of BOA. The band take to the stage with frontman Ben in a lovely flowery shirt. The Welsh crew have a light and ambient sound to begin with and although we could do with a little breather, we’re not sure how this is going to go…

 We stick around and realise that they have plenty of riffs in their arsenal. Heavy ones too… and we end up quite liking these Malum Sky lads.

The Municipal Waste merch stall has been doing a great line in dump trump t-shirts and when they hit the stage they were received like a headline performer. Now in our pre-festival “band of the weekend” predictions Municipal Waste were were Bloodstock’s wildcard and as it happened they simply blew us away. “This one goes out to all the beer drinkers out there. This one is called Beer Pressure” is about as serious as they get, although they do have a political message. “It’s so great to get away from Donald Trumps America” we’re told before they rip into Kill The President..

“Ladies and gentlemen.. circle fucking pit!!!”

Considering Tony was “Fucked up on buckfast” the boy did OK. Crossover thrash doesn’t come any better than this as the Waste taught Bloodstock The Art Of Partying. We even had another world record attempt. This time the band didn’t want any circle pits, oh no, they wanted crowd surfers. They wanted lots of crowd surfers. They wanted their world record back from Gojira who, apparently, only deserve the “world record for stealing someone elses shit”.

300-odd to beat, well they managed an unbelievable 532… Gauntlet thrown down for 2018’s headliners.

They came they saw they fucked Bloodstock up.

We joined an exodus after MW had done their thing, which meant Florence Black went from a decent sized crowd to a packed tent for the last 10 minutes. Must have sucked being up against Municipal Waste but what we saw of the Welsh trio they’re well worth further investigation.

Plenty of hard rock riffs, a bit of boogie and a whole lot of headbanging. These guys made sure that the post Municipal Waste comedown wasn’t too painful at all. Extra points for playing the guitar behind your head.

The previous night had seen us approached by a man with rather large sideburns. He asked if we like Crowbar and then gave us a sticker emblazened with the logo of the mighty Hoof Knuckle. Sludgey stuff we presumed.

Well one of us at CackBlabbath likes Crowbar, so we all popped along to check them out.

We’d lost the sticker about ten seconds after it was handed to us the night before and had drunkenly decided it was Camel Toe we were going to see. By the sounds of it, the sludge was already well underway. Yep, these guys were heavy. Pretty good too!

We didn’t spot the big sideburns for a while, but as the dry ice cleared, there they were behind the drum kit. Big chops sir, big chops…

There’s plenty of big-hitters on the bill, but the first REALLY big name of the day that draws in the masses is Hatebreed. Jasta and his crew area little glimpse of how Bloodstock has expanded over the years. drawing in these flash bigger bands and opening out the genres just a little bit; without losing the BOA identity.

And Hatebreed bring a colossal show. ‘Destroy Everything’ and ‘Live For This’ are fist-pumping anthems that get BOA’s blood pumping…

Everyone (a few more people than previously) in the arena is suddenly sporting a bandana too…

Jasta = Legend!

Time for today’s thrash metal legends though, and an annoying main stage / new blood stage clash. On main Kreator played an absolute f’kin blinder of a set. Unlike Testament the day before they had no sound gremlins to contend with and they made the most of it. It seems that no one told Kreator they’re not the headline band then, as they play the set as if they were. Hell they even blast out huge clouds of confetti during Hordes Of Chaos. Yep, thrash metal is all about the confetti.

On a massive day of thrash, Kreator just about won the battle. Not that we’re completely finished with the thrash for the day; there’s a certain legendary band still to come… but Kreator were huge!

Vive Le Violent Revolution.

There’s not much that would drag (some) of us away from a Kreator set, but there was the small matter of Brummie power metal vendors Dakesis to not be missed. Virtually out Twitrfest house band, it was great to see them headlining the New Blood stage at Bloodstock by special request.

Gemma couldn’t keep the smile off her face, and was a bit daring when she whipped off her “usual” corset to reveal an even more revealing (hand-made 6000+ rhinestones) burlesque outfit underneath. That girl has got some serious balls!

Throw in pyrotechnics with flames coming from her hands and you get an idea of what it was like. Dakesis.. only MORE !!. The key-tar made a long awaited reappearance in the hands of Jacob but once again it was Mat, the wee guitar god, that stole the show and had faces melting with his phenomenal talent. Bear in mind bassist Aimee rocked the bottom end and harmonised with Gemma while VERY pregnant. During this performance all that went though team CB’s minds was were Dakesis going on stage as a 5 piece and coming off as a 6 piece? As it turned out  the wee bundle was too shy and decided not to cause mummy Aimee any trouble and stayed put.

Power metal is not everyones cuppa, even more so when it’s of the cheesy female fronted variety but Dakesis heralded in the dawn of a new age of steel at BOA. Naysayers reckoned they wouldn’t last 6 months but they’ve proved everyone wrong and the future looks bright, pyro bright, with flames.

And rhinestones. Lot’s of rhinestones…

 

And yes, you may have seen a certain member of teamCB watching Dakesis while sporting a pastel anime wig and a girlie-fit vest top. Well a bet is a bet and he almost managed put Gemma off her stride. Maybe it was the pastel hair / Frey beard combo but it was a good look !! After the set it was time for MR CB to leave the front of the barrier and make way back to camp for a final time, still wearing that wig. I think secretly he liked the attention, Wolf whistles, weet weew n all that jazz. Everyone that seen him loved it.

Which reminds me, I must get my wig back…

More legendary thrash next, with Xentrix nabbing the Sophie Headline spot. Like Kreator they have some awesome tunes in their back catalogue, check out For Who’s Advantage?, and like Kreator they have no problems showing the young ‘uns how it’s done. It was strange seeing them without Chris, but that young bloke they’ve found to replace him did an OK job 😉

Actually, he was a bit better than OK, as were Xentrix who were another band to prove that old thrashers never die.

We grabbed a bite to eat then headed back for the headliner and.. well.. wow.. look at all the people. The serpents lair was virtually empty (and it’s NEVER empty) as 15,000 people headed out to watch Papa and the Ghouls step up to the festival headline big time. This was a booking that split opinion (the internet nearly melted) but the powers that be at BOA know what they’re doing.

Although we managed to catch up with loads of bands, Saturday had been building up to the main stage headliners. Need we say more? They may have split opinions, “they are not metal” to “what where they thinking” but Ghost were certainly a breath of fresh air at BOA and the air of expectation is like nothing else all weekend.

Hell, we is excited, BIG TIME!

The set got off to a great start, but it did hit the brakes a bit tempo-wise a few songs in. And then there were the Sisters of Sin. These ladies lined up on stage in nine attire and just when we thought it may all go a bit Steel Panther they were sent down to the barrier to provide spiritual warmth for the front row which was a bit, well, pointless and we thought it derailed the momentum a bit. Fortunately the set picked up pace again and as Papa took his bow no one could argue with Ghost’s status as a headline band. Especially when they shower the crowd in Ghost dollars. We missed out on the loot though…

Now it wouldn’t be Bloodstock if you didn’t have at least one of they nights in the Serpents Lair. You know the ones where you go in with the intention of staying for one beer and end up leaving at a time you can’t remember, with people you don’t even know and you have the most random, un-metal-like conversations that tickles your funny bone the remainder of the weekend.

Steak provided some meaty riffs on the VIP stage while we knocked back the ales and ciders. Which prompted the inevitable question of… “Why aren’t these guys in the main arena?”

Well, I suppose the VIP treat does indeed have it’s perks.

Yeah… well that happened to us a few too many refreshing pints while chatting with some acquaintances from over the years. I reckon collectively we must have taken about 300 pics on our phones, with everyone and anyone that was dressed up or had any sort of wig, mask or prop. The silent disco was amusing to watch too. For a silent disco, there was a hell of a lot of noise coming from the disco-goers. They danced with headphones on, singing along to chorus of classic rock and metal tracks. The same tracks the rest of us could hear over the PA.

What a day! What a night!

We hit a new low at CB. For the duration of the journey home to camp, we discussed toilet behaviours…of the toilet roll kind. How much should you use? Which one do you use? Which way round the roll should hang. Talking shite. Literally.

And then there was the shadow band logo thing. We mastered writing Tyr with our shadows, but were slightly less successful when we grabbed a couple of our fellow festival goers to try Lordi.

Man, BOA is ossums.